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July 27, 2012

Office of Media Relations
Darlene Trew Crist, Director

Courtney Coelho, Editor
(401) 863-7287

National Geographic   20 July 2012
El Zotz masks yield insights into Maya beliefs
A team of archaeologists led by Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology, has made a new discovery at the Maya archaeological site in El Zotz, Guatemala, uncovering a pyramid believed to celebrate the Maya sun god. The structure’s outer walls depict the god in an unprecedented set of images done in painted stucco. In 2010, the team uncovered a royal tomb filled with artifacts and human remains at the same site. Researchers believe the pyramid was built to link the deceased lord to the eternal sun.

PRI   24 July 2012
Discoveries abound in the ‘Place of Bats’
Stephen Houston, professor of anthropology, appears on “The World” to talk about El Zotz, an archaeological site in Guatemala where he recently led a team of researchers to the discovery of pyramid believed to celebrate the Maya sun god, as part of the show’s Geo Quiz. Houston also describes what it’s like to work at the site, which is known for its proliferation of bats.

Bloomberg   25 July 2012
Obama’s strategic decision to skip AIDS conference
President Obama has chosen to skip the International AIDS Conference, taking place this week in Washington, D.C., instead choosing to be out on the campaign trail and raising money for his re-election. Wendy Schiller, associate professor of political science, says that while the move may hurt him among those that would be sympathetic to the movement to reduce AIDS, it makes more sense for him to to spend his time in front of broader constituencies that he’ll be addressing at events this week.

Los Angeles Times    9 July 2012
Training improves recognition of rapid-fire objects
“Attentional blink” is the term psychologists use to describe our inability to recognize a second important object if we see it less than half a second after a first one. It always seemed impossible to overcome, but in a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Brown University psychologists report they’ve found a way.

USA Today   19 July 2012
Suburbs could be key to minority vote
New research indicates that diverse suburbs are the fastest-growing slice of metropolitan America, expanding faster than their mostly white counterparts. John Logan, professor of sociology, says that suburbs should be a crucial target area for political candidates: "If you’re interested in reaching a minority vote, you’ll find it more in the suburbs than in the city."

The New York Times   20 July 2012
Alum finds success in Ai WeiWei documentary
Alison Klayman, a 2006 Brown graduate, recently released an award-winning documentary titled “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” about China’s well-known avante-garde artist-turned-outspoken political dissident. Klayman says she had no aspirations to be a filmaker when she arrived in China shortly after graduation, but when she came across Ai’s story, she was compelled to do something: “I just wanted to try to think something new about China, to do something really good and show who this guy is.”

The Providence Journal   22 July 2012
Study quantifies heat relief provided by trees
A class taught by Timmons Roberts, director of the Center for Environmental Studies, has completed a study examining the temperature differences in neighborhoods with varying amounts of trees. The study found that daytime surface temperatures in neighborhoods with few trees – including Federal Hill, Olneyville and downtown – can be 10 or even 15 degrees Fahrenheit higher than areas with a lot of trees, such as Mount Pleasant, South Elmwood and the streets around Blackstone Boulevard.

The New York Times   23 July 2012
A peek inside the world of rare books
For five weeks each summer Rare Book School at the University of Virginia brings some 300 librarians, conservators, scholars, dealers, collectors and random book-mad civilians together for weeklong intensive courses. Richard Noble, rare books cataloguer, taught a seminar at this year’s session on the “Advanced Descriptive Bibliography.”

The Providence Journal   26 July 2012
Camp gives girls a leg up in computer science
A summer camp that took place at Brown recently is aimed at getting girls interested in the traditionally male-dominated field of computer science. Artemis Project is a free five-week camp that teaches girls a range of computer skills, including 3D animation, how to create websites, artificial intelligence, Photoshop, cryptography, robotics and a computer programming language called Python. Campers also took field trips to MIT and the Boston Museum of Science.

Times Higher Education   26 July 2012
Brown then and now
A photo featuring a Brown chemistry class from the 1870s poses for a photograph on the steps of Rogers Hall (now the Salomon Center) as a professor, John Appleton, appears to watch current students leaving the 150-year-old building after a morning class is highlighted in the “Odds and Quads” section. The idea of Michael Cohea, visual communications specialist, these “Looking into the Past” photos feature an old photo transposed over its modern-day version and are frequently featured on the Brown Facebook page.

The Boston Globe   26 July 2012
Many benefits to a later start to the school day
The school committee in Weston, Massachusetts, is considering whether to let its high school students start their school day a little later for the 2013-2014 academic year. Mary Carskadon, professor of psychiatry and human behavior, says that pushing back school start times helps improve academic performance and also leads to happier teens. “There’s kind of a buoyancy that is achieved by making this change, because teachers end up getting more sleep, too,” Carskadon says.

Inside Higher Ed   24 July 2012
NLRB weighs grad student-union issue
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is deciding whether to reverse a 2004 decision that made graduate students ineligible for unionization rights. The original decision was made following a a case involving a union bid at Brown University. Several institutions and higher education associations, including Brown, filed briefs backing the 2004 decision for consideration by the NLRB.

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